Continuing Tales


A Harry Potter Story
by Alexis.Danaan

Part 19 of 26

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6 Months (pt 2):


The man sitting at the bar stiffened and turned to look at her, no small amount of shock and apprehension on his face. She was startled to be able to read that much off his expression considering that this man had always been reserved and seemingly incapable of any emotion other than contempt and rage.

"Miss Granger," he intoned. His voice was exactly as she remembered it; deep and silky smooth. "I would ask what you are doing in such an establishment, but I am not sure I want to know."

Her eyes darted down to the pint cradled between his palms on the bar top and raised her hand to the bartender, pointing at it and then herself. She climbed onto the rather tall stool next to him and propped her elbows up on the drink stained wood.

"I should ask what you are doing here," she told him, turning to face the man and crossing her knees. The skirt she wore rode up slightly with the action and she pulled it gently back down. Snape, to his credit, did not look. "Out of the two of us, I'm the more likely, no?"

"Your memory is curiously short, Miss Granger," he said flatly, taking a sip of his beer before he continued. "My father frequented such establishments quite often, as was his wont. I was under the impression that you were aware of my...status."

"Well yes," she agreed, thanking the bartender with a nod as he placed a foaming glass in front of her. Why he bothered with the coaster, she didn't know, it wasn't like the wood of the bar in front of them was polished or maintained. "But I don't make a habit of looking at someone and classifying them by their status, as you put it. My memories of you contain an alarming amount of traditional robes; I wouldn't think you'd know how to dress of my people."

She made a rather obvious show of eyeing him up and down with a grin plastered on her face. She knew that she was already a little tipsy, it was what gave her the guts to look at Snape like he was a piece of meat, but she didn't particularly care—another side effect of the booze.

And he did look good after all. Muggle clothes suited him nicely, hugging his lanky frame much better than the robes ever did. Either someone had helped him with this, or he had been doing it for a while; his black trousers were casual but snug enough to showcase his narrow hips and long, lean legs. His shirt, also black, was clearly tailored to his frame, whether by magic or Muggle means, and it drew attention to the broadness of his shoulders.

"Are you quite done, Miss Granger?" his voice was dry with amusement and when Hermione looked up she would have swore she saw a smile flirting about his mouth. Perhaps he had had enough to make him bold as well? It was an interesting thought.

"Almost," she grinned and held out her hands. "You're only missing a few key touches. Arms, give'em."

"Excuse me?" he arched an eyebrow at her but she was not deterred. She had not seen this man in years; time made it easy to forget how intimidating he could be. It helped that she was an adult now, too.

"Your arms, give them over," she repeated, motioning with her fingers.

Slowly, watching her warily, he held out his arms out and Hermione stifled a snicker because he looked like he was waiting to be arrested. She swiftly unbuttoned the cuff on his left sleeve and began rolling it up when he pulled away.

"What are you doing, Miss Granger?" he hissed, his eyes darting around suspiciously while his hand went to his forearm.

The action, familiar and yet not, triggered her memory as to what was under that shirt.

"Oh!" she exclaimed. "I forgot. Sorry, Professor."

"How could you possibly forget, woman?" he snapped, trying to button his cuff with one hand and failing.

"Easily," she replied, "it's not something that I think about, much like blood status. Except when I see Malfoy, I can't help but remember then. Here, let me," she reached out and grabbed his arm but instead of buttoning it, she continued to roll it up.

"Why are you doing this?" he hissed.

"No one here knows what it is, Professor," she reasoned, deftly rolling his sleeve up to his mid-forearm and then pushing it the rest of the way to his elbow to give him that semi-casual, after business hours look. She pulled the other arm over and repeated the process while he watched, his arm resting against his knees and his Dark Mark showing in the dim lighting.

"And may I ask why this must be done?" he murmured eventually, watching her fingers tuck the right sleeve up. "Or am I simply expected to follow orders?"

"Ah, wouldn't that be nice?" she teased. "A man who just did what he was told and didn't ask questions."

He arched an eyebrow at her and she laughed, leaning back slightly to appraise him. She tapped her fingers over her lips and thought for a minute. There was something missing...

"Oh!" she grinned and reached forward, unbuttoning the top two buttons on his dress shirt. "I'm surprised you're allowing me to take such liberties, Professor."

"I am no longer your Professor and I have clearly had far too much to drink," he groused, his dark eyes watching her as she opened the collar of his shirt to show off the dip of his collar bone.

"Does this mean I get to call you Severus, now?" she grinned at him, slipping a bangle off her wrist. It was a large, chunky, green plastic bracelet and he eyed it suspiciously.

"What do you plan to do with that?" he asked. "And I suppose if I must suffer your company tonight it would be best if you didn't refer to me as your teacher."

"Why's that?" she leaned in, grinning as she slipped her hand up the side of her skirt and retrieved her wand from the holder against her thigh. "Worried what people might think?"

His eyes widened in shock as she scooted even closer, bringing their bodies into almost intimate territory. It would certainly look that way from an observer's standpoint, which was exactly what she wanted. She didn't need someone witnessing what she was about to do.

"What are you doing, Miss Granger?" he asked, making to move away.

"Stay right where you are or you're going to blow the Secrecy Act, Severus," she said, clamping one hand onto his knee. He immediately shifted forward and twisted his body slightly to block her hands, which were resting on his knees, from the other patrons of the bar.

"I repeat, what are you doing?" he hissed.

"Making you a leather cuff," she grinned at him and tapped the plastic bracelet with her wand, picturing in her mind what she wanted. It was difficult to transfigure something that was either alive into something dead, or the other way around. Leather has the memory of having once been living flesh, something that plastic does not, so the plastic resists the transformation unless it is done by a competent witch. Hermione may have been a bit into the sauce but she was still more than competent.

She felt the magic pass over the object and it change in her hands. Slipping her wand back into the holder, she leaned back and held it up with triumph.

"See?" she exclaimed happily. "Wrist, give it."

He held out his right hand, his expression clearly amused. "This is what you risked arrest for?"

"Pah," Hermione scoffed, buckling the leather into place. The dark brown set off his skin tone nicely, she observed. "Where's your sense of adventure, Severus?"

"I used it all up," he retorted dryly.

"Well, aren't you lucky I've still got some left?" she teased, grinning widely. She picked up her pint and took a sip, eyeing him once more.

"Do I pass the test now?" he asked, grabbing his own pint.

"More than a pass," she smirked. "You just set the standard for every man in this place."

Suddenly, as if a switch had been flicked inside of him, his face closed off and he turned away from her. "Do not be foolish, Miss Granger."

"Who said anything about being foolish?" she asked, startled by his sudden change in demeanour. He had been open and almost fun for a moment there. "Hey," she poked him in the ribs and he turned to glare at her. "Don't give me that face. I'm not lying to you, you look good."

"Miss Granger," he growled, "I insist you desist."

"No, I won't. That woman over there is checking you out, you know. In fact, she has been for quite some time," Hermione said, nodding towards a woman at the other end of the bar on his other side. Severus' head turned and caught the woman's eye as she leaned against the bar, waiting for the bartender and holding a ten pound note in her hand. She grinned and winked at him, her bright red lips turned up.

Severus whipped his head back around and focused on his beer as if he hadn't seen the overt invitation. Hermione grinned slightly as a light flush crept up his neck and into his cheeks.

"Going to go say hi, or what?" she asked, breaking the silence.

"No," he snapped. "I'm not interested."

"Good," she said, hopping off the stool. She tucked her purse under one arm, grabbed her pint and his hand. "You can come find a table with me then."

"Miss Granger—"

"Hermione," she said without turning around to look at him. She spotted a table at the back and started dragging him towards it, weaving between people standing around, a couple of them bopping awkwardly to the music.

"Fine, Hermione," he growled. "I do not want to spend my evening with you."

"No?" she asked, slipping into a small horse shoe shaped booth with a tiny round table in the middle of it. "Then why aren't you leaving?"

"Because you dragged me over here," he said, standing at the table's edge and looking down his nose at her.

She shrugged casually. "And I'm so much stronger than you," she snorted. "Right. Besides, I'm not dragging you anymore am I?"

He glared at her and turned around to leave but he had only taken a few steps when her voice called out to him again.

"Severus, I'd love it if you would stay," she confessed. "Do you think you could humour me for a bit?"

He sighed, making it sound as if it were the most difficult thing that had ever been asked of him, but he sat down and raised his hand to flag down a waitress for another drink. Hermione grinned in triumph—

She woke with a start, confused and unsure about what was going on or where she was. The room was still semi-dark and her eyes adjusted quickly enough to make out her own bedroom with its usual clutter and mess. Her eyes lit on the upturned perfume bottles on her dresser and the hastily open drawers of her tallboy and she remembered exactly why her eyes felt crusty and swollen.

With a soft sigh, she looked down to the bed where Sebastian lay on his back, his head turned towards her and his little chest rising softly. Gently, she ran her fingers through his black curls and down the side of his face, tracing the plump cheeks that spoke of how young he was. His dark eyelashes contrasted beautifully with his pale skin and rosy lips; He's going to be a heart breaker, she thought, smiling softly.

Carefully, she scooped him up in her arms and carried him down the hall to the nursery. She placed him in his crib gently, so as not to wake him, before setting the charms that would alert her if he woke before she returned. She needed a shower and a really strong cup of tea if she was going to face this day; the rest of the Wizarding world would wake up to images of Ron Weasley kissing her and she would, no doubt, get even more attention than before.

She tried valiantly not to think about everything as she stripped bare in the bathroom and turned on her charmed bath but it was hard. She couldn't help but chastise herself over it all; how could she have been so stupid? Why would she go with Ron to a very public place when she had just gotten the reporters to leave her alone? She hadn't been thinking—that much was clear. Had she been that desperate to mend bridges with Ron that she took leave of her common sense?

The great thing about having a shower was that she could delude herself into thinking that she wasn't crying, it was just water.

Thankfully, Sebastian continued to sleep through the rest of her morning routine. She dressed in what her mother called 'comfort clothing', a loose pair of Muggle sweats, a tank top and an overly large sweater that had once belonged to her father, and sat down at the kitchen table to pen a note to Kingsley.


Given the circumstances of what happened yesterday I have decided to change the time of when I arrive in the office. I'll be coming in a couple of hours later than normal, but don't worry, I will stay to make up the time. I would like to try to avoid the reporters without having to constantly use your office. I will be erecting owl wards around my flat again, Floo me if you have need of anything.

Hermione, xx

"Hey girl," Hermione called out softly, rolling up the small note and fishing around the table drawer for a piece of string. Morgana heard her and flew softly into the kitchen to land on the chair adjacent to Hermione. "Take this to Kingsley at the office please," she told the owl, tying the missive to her outstretched leg. "Thank you, beautiful."

Hermione opened the window for Morgana to leave through and then set about making tea for herself, and perhaps some toast. She filled the kettle and put it on the hob, poking under it to ignite a magical flame before she turned around to grab her tea pot and mug. As she reached into the drying rack for the familiar maroon piece of porcelain she spied its larger companion nestled neatly beside it. Why the sight of two mugs sitting side by side would bring tears to her eyes, Hermione wasn't quite sure. Or she was, but she was merely pretending.

Either way, she quickly snatched her mug out of the rack and ignored the memory of how happy Severus had been to find such a large mug in her cupboards, one that would accommodate his significantly larger palms.

How could he have simply walked out on her like that? She stared at the magical blue flame under her kettle as if it would give her the answers she sought. Why would he believe the absolute worst of her? Why wouldn't he give her a chance to explain? Did he really not know her at all, even after the time they had spent living together?

With furious jabs of her wand, Hermione forced the water to boil faster as she studiously pushed away all thoughts of the previous morning and the languid kiss she had received whilst performing this same task. The Muggle kettle started to whistle and Hermione yanked it off the stove to pour the boiling water into her tea pot.

The sound of the Floo activated as she poured and instantly her stomach clenched in a mixture of hope and dread.

"Hermione?" a voice called out softly, as if afraid to wake the occupants of the house.

She buried the crushing disappointment as she softly called back. "In here, Harry."

He appeared in the doorway to the kitchen, his face a mixture of confusion and sadness. Without hesitating, he walked right up to her and wrapped his arms around her stiff frame. She hesitated for a heartbeat before leaning into him slightly, her arms like dead weights at her sides. He still smelt like the same old Harry; of soap, leather and boy. He didn't smell anything like Sever—

With a hiccup, Hermione began to cry softly against her friend, her hands sliding up his back of their own volition to cling tightly at his cotton tee. He pulled her closer, rocking their bodies slightly from side to side.

"Oh, Hermione," he murmured softly against her wild, half dried hair. "What happened?"

"Y-You don't smell like Se-Severus," she blubbered incoherently, speaking the first thing that came to mind.

"No, I don't imagine I would," Harry retorted, as if what she said was a perfectly rational response to his line of questioning. "He's not here is he?"

Slowly, she shook her head, aware that her tears and snot were rubbing against the shoulder of his shirt but not really caring. "I don't understand," she cried. "He didn't even stop to let me explain."

"Ron kissed you didn't he?" Harry asked.

"Uh huh," she mumbled, feeling Harry's hands sweep up and down her back in a soothing pattern. She sniffed wetly and continued. "He wanted to have lunch with me, to talk about what happened in Severus' shop."

"When you two argued?" Harry asked.

"I was stupid, Harry," she moaned by way of answer. "I should never have gone with him to the Leaky, of all places! The Leaky!"

"What happened there?"

She hiccupped and pulled back. "He kept going on and on about how we could give a relationship another go and it would work if we tried," she waved a hand around as if dismissing Ron's argument. "I told him, nicely, that he was barking up the wrong tree, it didn't work then and it certainly wouldn't work now. He didn't listen to me, of course," she spat. "Instead, he leaned over the table and planted one on me. I was so shocked at first Harry, I didn't move and then he...ugh," she broke off and wiped her mouth with the back of her hand as if the evidence of his kiss was still there. "Then someone yelled 'kiss her again' and he tried, so I smacked him."

Harry sighed despondently and shook his head as she sniffed again and used the sleeves of her father's sweater to wipe the tears from her face. She eyed his wet shoulder with distaste. "Sorry 'bout that," she mumbled.

"This?" Harry looked and it and shrugged. "Easily taken care of," he pulled his wand out of his back pocket and waved it over the mess. "There."

"Do you want tea?" she asked softly.

"Sure," he said, turning to the table and pulling out a chair.

Hermione reached for the cupboard, pulling out a clean mug that was not the one sitting in the dish rack, and placed it beside her own. She picked up the teapot and began pouring only to find that it was not tea that came out of the spout, but merely hot water. She had forgotten to add the tea leaves.

For reasons she didn't understand at the moment, this was the last straw for her.

With both hands on the pot, she turned and threw it into the sink with a loud crash. The teapot shattered into a hundred pieces, the momentum of its fall splashing hot water up and over her counters but she was too busy reaching into the dish wrack to notice or care. Her hand closed on the larger mug and she turned to hurtle it against the far wall, taking sick pleasure in the sound as it practically exploded with the force of her throw. She stood there, looking at the fallen pieces of ceramic, and half thought about fixing it so that she could throw it again.

"Do you feel better now?" Harry asked mildly, his tone only serving to flame her anger.

"He just walked out!" she spat, her voice dripping venom. "He didn't care enough to fucking listen to one word I had to say! He just assumed the worst of me and packed his bags! He's just as bad as the rest of them, he clearly believes I'm a whore, too."

"I'm not sure that's what he thinks, Hermione," Harry said gently. "I think he's probably rather hurt."

"He's hurt?" she laughed but the sound was bitter and painful. "I'm the one who not only just had an explosively public end to a lifelong friendship but also had the man that I love walk out on me because he can't be bothered to look past his own pride!"

"You love him?" Harry asked, mild surprise colouring his voice.

"Yes!" she cried, her voice breaking on a sob. She leaned against the counter and slid down it with a heavy thump. With her knees pulled up in front of her, she dropped her arms on them, followed by her head.

Harry got off his chair and slowly joined her, ignoring how some of that now cold water from the teapot had ended up on the floor and was soaking into his jeans. "Did you tell him that you love him?" he asked softly, watching the curly head pillowed on her arms.

"Yes," her voice was muffled but clearly distraught. "And he still left."

"Maybe he just needs time," Harry said, though he didn't sound as if he believed it.

"He packed all of his stuff, Harry," she whispered, lifting her head and looking for all the world as if it was the hardest thing she had ever done. "He said he wouldn't be made a fool of and he left."

Harry clenched his jaw and pulled her into his arms again. She leaned against him and cried. "I don't understand," she mumbled between hiccupping breaths. "I just don't understand."

"I don't think that he knows how to deal with these kinds of things," Harry said softly, brushing her curly hair back from her face. "And...well, I don't think it's very easy for him to trust. It's not like he has an abundance of friends, is it?"

"No," she whispered. "But I thought that, maybe, he was starting to trust me."

"I think that's why he reacted the way he did," Harry said. "I imagine that this was...a betrayal of the worst sort. It probably brought back a lot of memories, too."

"Memories?" she asked stupidly, not understanding.

"It wouldn't be the first time he'd been passed up for another wizard, would it?" Harry murmured softly, almost to himself. "My mum gutted him once and, to my knowledge, not that I'm an expert on his personal life, he hasn't tried with anyone since."

"I had forgotten about that," Hermione murmured softly, her tears slowing down.

"Not that it excuses his behaviour," Harry continued. "But perhaps I can understand where he's coming from."

"Forgive me if I'm less inclined to understand," she muttered, a trace of the previous anger underlying her words.

"I don't blame you," he said, pressing a kiss to her head. "Why do you love him, though?"

"What?" she asked, sitting up and looking at him in confusion. "What do you mean?"

"Exactly what I said," Harry shrugged. "Why do you love him?"

Hermione turned from him and stared at the fraying knees of her old sweats and thought about it. Why did she love him?

"He's unbelievably kind," she murmured. "Not in overt ways, but in the little things that you don't think about until later. Like bringing me tea in the morning or taking Sebastian first thing so I can have a shower before him. It's in the little things, Harry, the half smiles and his hands on my arms or-or kisses in the k-kitchen."

"And he's brilliant with Sebastian," a few tears leaked out of her eyes and she brushed them away under Harry's careful gaze. "I love watching them together, he's so...he loves his son, Harry." A memory of Severus curled up on the couch with Sebastian came to mind and she smiled even as more tears came. "There was this one day, before he moved in, that he came over and I had completely forgotten to get dinner on the go," she laughed and cried at the same time. "I was so distracted by Molly's visit and he was so tired, you could see it in his face. I told him to sit with Sebastian for a bit and that I would throw together something quick. By the time I got back, he was dead to the world with Sebastian tucked into his side. I sat there and watched them sleep and I...I...I never wanted him to go."

"Oh, 'Mione," Harry murmured, clearly unsure of what to say.

"I don't really know why I love him, Harry," she mumbled, her voice thick with tears. "I can't pin it down to one thing; he makes me happy and I just...I love him," she whispered. "But he doesn't trust me and I...I don't know if he could ever love me."

"Why the hell not?" Harry demanded, pulling back to look at her harshly. "There's plenty to love about you Hermione! He'd be an idiot not to love you, a fact which I'm steadily becoming convinced of. And here we all thought he was intelligent."

She knew it was meant to make her laugh, but she couldn't. Instead, she just shrugged despondently. "He gave his heart away a long time ago, Harry."

That seemed to deflate him and he fell back against the counter, pulling her closer again as she buried her face into his chest. He pillowed his cheek on the top of her head and held her until the charms that alerted her to Sebastian's consciousness went off. He eyed her warily as she pulled herself off the floor and wiped her face with the giant Oxford sweater. It was with no small amount of admiration that he watched her close her eyes, gather her strength and close off the emotion that had been like a beacon for anyone to read. Without another word, she turned from the kitchen and went to fetch her son, leaving Harry with an ache in his chest for his best friend and her broken heart.


A Harry Potter Story
by Alexis.Danaan

Part 19 of 26

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